So let’s say that Derrick Mason sticks to his web announcement and he retires.
What does Baltimore do next?
If the Ravens want to have any chance of returning to the playoffs and competing for a championship they must replace a player that accounted for over 1/3 of their offense. So they need to try and obtain a player of quality. After the team signs Michael Oher and Paul Kruger they should have anywhere from 7-9 million dollars under the salary cap.
You will also notice that I am leaving both Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall out of this list. Simply because the Ravens will need to trade two picks (1st and 3rd rumored) and with Baltimore’s current position their respective teams realize that the Ravens would be desperate and could try and drive up the price even further.
1- PLAXICO BURRESS
No one really wants to mention Burress for obvious reasons. His lack of good sense and the unclear legal situation make him a risk. His legal team is working furiously to try and push his sentence until after the 2009 season. Of course Roger Goodell will have his say about a possible suspension even if he legally play. But there is no denying that at 6?5? he makes an imposing target and he is the most talented of the free agents still on the market. In fact both the Jets and Buccaneers have been public in their interest of the former Giant. Sure he has character issues but as we wade through the list – who doesn’t. High risk but potential high reward.
2- MARVIN HARRISON
The 37 year old Harrison has had injury problems and struggled this past season though not when he played Baltimore. His production has tailed off the last two seasons and last year’s 60 catch effort was his fewest with 15 games played. That still puts him right behind Mason’s totals of a year ago. Harrison may not come cheap but there don’t seem to be too many teams beating down his door. Does he have anything left though?
3- DREW BENNETT
Another huge target that could have potential. His best season was in 2004 when he snatched 11 touchdowns. This season upcoming is 2009 and he’s coming off a season with St,Louis where he appeared in just one game.
4- AMANI TOOMER
The 34 year old vet would be the most reliable of this group. He has solid pass catching skills but wouldn’t exactly be the same caliber as Mason. Would at least provide leadership for the rest of the corps. This could be one safe choice that the Ravens could make.
5- ASHLEY LELIE
The speed burner has bounced around the league the last three years after leaving Denver where he have his most productive season in 2004 when he caught 7 touchdowns and averaged 20.1 yds. per catch. Lelie may have simply been a product of Denver’s system and languished in the purgatory that was the Oakland Raiders last year.
Mason’s retirement created a gaping hole that must be filled before September 13th if they are to compete. The options aren’t very clear cut but Ozzie Newsome will be put to the test once again.